Fatal Welwyn Garden City explosion: Three firms admit safety failings

PUBLISHED: 14:41 20 March 2013 | UPDATED: 14:41 20 March 2013

Adam Johnston, 38, who died in the Mundells explosion

Adam Johnston, 38, who died in the Mundells explosion


THREE firms pleaded guilty to a lengthy list of health and safety breaches on Friday, five years after a fatal WGC gas cylinder explosion.

Crown House Technologies Ltd, Kidde Fire Protection Services Ltd and Kidde Products Ltd, were in the dock at Watford Magistrates Court, over the tragedy, which claimed the life of a dad-of-three, in Mundells, WGC.

Adam Johnston, 38, died after more than 60 cylinders unexpectedly discharged, destroying part of the HSBC data centre building, on November 5, 2008.

Mr Johnston’s employer, Dartford-based Crown House Technologies admitted it had breached the Health and Safety at Work Act on two counts.

It admitted failing to ensure the health, safety and welfare of all its employees, including Mr Johnston, and it failing to undertake its duties to ensure staff from other firms were not put at risk.

Two other charges against the firm were dropped.

Kidde Fire Protection Services, pleaded guilty to two charges.

The Slough-based company admitted failure to co-ordinate its activities with others to ensure the health and safety of people carrying out construction work and of people affected by the construction work.

It also confessed to failing “to plan, manage and monitor construction work carried out under its control” so that it “is carried out without risks to health and safety”.

And Kidde Products Ltd pleaded guilty to two offences under the Health and Saftey at Work Act.

It failed to ensure the health, safety and welfare of all its employees and to conduct its undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons not in its employment were not exposed to risks to their health and safety.

The firms will now be sentenced over the breaches on April 5, at St Albans Crown Court.

Despite the guilty pleas the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) would not comment in detail on the case.

A spokesman said simply: “This is now a matter for the court and it would be inappropriate to comment further until the case had concluded.”

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